NFC Notes: Cardinals, Falcons, 49ers

     

Cardinals

Even after bringing in CB Malcolm Butler in free agency, the Cardinals could still add a cornerback with pick No. 16 and GM Steve Keim would most likely be delighted if Patrick Surtain, Caleb Farley, or Jaycee Horn would fall to them in the draft.

“I do think it’s a deep corner draft. Pick your poison; these guys are all a little different whether it’s Patrick Surtain II, Horn, or Farley,” Keim said, via Howard Balzer of SI.com. “There are guys that can be nickels and nickels only. To me, the nickel position is getting harder and harder to find. I think at one time that was a secondary thought, but the way these teams are playing schematically in the NFL, the nickel position is as important as ever. For us to have a guy like Byron Murphy Jr. who can play inside or outside, it gives us tremendous value. But there are guys that can play inside and outside in this draft and some guys that can only play outside with their length and their movement skills. The first two that I just talked about with Horn and Surtain II, the bloodlines that they come from are obviously very, very good which shows up in their competitiveness, the way they play the game, the way they approach the game and they’ve been very, very impressive to evaluate this spring.”

Keim continued to speak in-depth about Farley, whose injury concerns have some wondering just how far he could fall in the draft.

“I like Caleb a lot,” Keim said. “He’s another guy that came in early in his career as a wide receiver; they moved him to corner. Did not have tape from this past year because he opted out. As far as the medical goes, it’s going to be up to our doctors and trainers. You have to lean on those guys and rely on them and I’ll meet with those guys early next week and we’ll address all of those concerns. As a player, he hasn’t even scratched the surface yet, but he’s got tremendous upside and potential. For a guy who is as long as he is, he’s got the tremendous stop-and-start ability and really is as sudden in transition as any corner in this draft. He’s got a bright future.”

  • Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio hears that Tulsa LB Zaven Collins is high on the Cardinals’ draft board and could be an option for them if the top cornerbacks and receivers are unavailable. 

Falcons

ESPN’s Todd McShay reports that the Atlanta Falcons are leaning toward TE Kyle Pitts with No. 4 which would remove from the board a player that the Dolphins have been targeting at No. 6.

“I’m getting a strong reading that the Falcons like… Pitts as the fourth selection,” McShay said, via Twitter. “He’d of course be a game-changer in that offense, and the organization believes he has a great chance to be a Hall of Fame-type of player.”

There could be a chance, according to McShay, that owner Arthur Blank steps in and decides that quarterback is the right direction to go.

“The wild card? Some are wondering whether team owner Arthur Blank might step in and decide this pick has to be a QB,” said McShay. “Atlanta might not be drafting this high again for a while, and it’s a chance to potentially set the team up at the position for the next decade…. But again, the preference I’m hearing is Pitts. I also heard the Falcons are fielding calls regarding trading out and would consider moving down the board.

McShay later appeared on ESPN, adding: “Now I’m hearing for Atlanta it’s going to be Kyle Pitts or they could move back for an offensive lineman.”

  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that if the Falcons take Pitts with the fourth overall pick, it will increase the odds that a team trades up to draft a quarterback around pick No. 7 or 8 such as the Broncos.

49ers

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan admitted that QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history is a concern and played a role in the team trading up to No. 3 overall for a quarterback. 

“The biggest thing with Jimmy is his injuries,” Shanahan said Monday. “That’s been very tough for us when he’s been hurt. It’s happened two out of these three years, and that’s where it starts and Jimmy knows that. I’ve been very upfront with him with everything.”

As to who they’re planning to draft and the reaction to some of the quarterbacks they’re considering, Shanahan added it would be “irresponsible” for them to let outside voices and perception have a role in who to take at No. 3 overall.

“It is so irresponsible to let something like that affect your decision,” Shanahan said via Pro Football Talk. “We do this for a living and people should be proud of us that we won’t let that affect our decision. And then it’s up to us to live with the consequences.”

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the 49ers have wrapped up their evaluations on what quarterback to take in the draft and many around the league believe it to be Mac Jones.
  • Fowler still expects their decision to come down to the wire as Justin Fields and Trey Lance have also impressed team officials.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the 49ers are “relishing” the attention regarding the No. 3 overall pick. According to Florio, it’s still possible the 49ers change their minds between now and Thursday.
  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says San Francisco’s focus will shift to fortifying the offensive line with the rest of their draft and their moves afterward. 

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